A concert of two halves from the Norwegian pianist and composer.
The first comprised a trio and a trio expanded to a quartet. Piano, cello and guitar introduced us to Bjornstad's pretty music, classical way of melodic development and timbral sensitivity; the more conventional piano trio, later with added saxophone, leant towards the jazz end of what the remarkably eclectic leader does.
Bjornstad, something of a father figure, has clearly influenced at least two younger Scandinavian pianists - Sweden's Esbjorn Svensson and Norway's Tord Gustavsen - as composers of catchy pop-strength melodies. But while they give them, respectively, a rock edge and a gospel depth, the older man seems content for his music to remain in an easy listening area.
What saves these tunes from triteness is the bands he forms to interpret them.
The ever-original sound manipulations of guitarist Eivind Aarset, the glorious, sunshiney bass playing of Arild Andersen and the saxophone mastery of Andy Sheppard add the subtlety and remove the cliche from the material they are given.
In the second half, with the addition of vocalist Kristin Asbjornsen, we were thrown into what felt like a prog-rock concept album - something the group Yes might have thought up, with Kate Bush guesting.
While the instrumentalists continued to attempt their alchemy, Asbjornsen really had drawn the short straw. The lyrics Bjornstad had written for her were so clunky and awkward that she could not succeed.
The best jazz is surely the result of approaching from an original angle, not stating the obvious; its lyrics should be equally subtle. Sure, Bjornstad wants to tackle serious issues, but this is possible without taking the poetry away from the lyrics - just listen to the new Donald Fagen album, Morph The Cat, for some fine examples.
Bjornstad's Seafarer's Song suite exposed an underlying averageness which had been hidden earlier in the evening. Still, when Arild Andersen smiles, the jazz world seems a better place.